Shelley Canobie-Harris with the ashes of her son. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News
Shelley Canobie-Harris with the ashes of her son. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News John Gass

Comfort after a loss

The heartbreaking blow of losing her newborn baby was softened slightly for Shelley Canobie-Harris by her being able to spend a few days with the little boy after his death.

This was made possible by the presence of a "cuddle cot" in Brisbane's Mater Hospital. A cuddle cot is a cooling system that fits into a small cot and allows for babies who have passed away to remain with their families.

It gives grieving parents the option of taking their baby home to lie in their own cot in their own room and enables family members to travel to visit.

On August 22, Ms Canobie-Harris's son Leo was born by emergency caesarean in Tweed Hospital. He had a racing heart and was transferred to the Mater while his mother stayed in Tweed to recover from her major surgery.

"As it turned out Leo didn't make it before we could see him once more and hold his little hand," Ms Canobie-Harris said.

He passed away the next morning.

Ms Canobie-Harris and Leo's dad Jai, both 28, were taken to the Mater where she reported she received "exceptional care".

Part of that care involved being offered the special cot.

"I was so terrified holding my quiet baby in my arms not knowing what would happen next. Or how we would get through these next few hours, let alone the days, weeks, months and years without him.

"As first-time bereaved parents we were able to spend a further two nights and three days with our baby boy."

His grandparents were able to fly in and hold Leo, and "cuddle him and sing to him", she said. "The most important part of all was we had choices. Giving us the time to make memories, and say our hellos and goodbyes was so special."

Now she is busy raising funds for Pregnancy Loss Australia to buy a cuddle cot for the Tweed Hospital.

The $4500 system will bring great comfort to bereaved parents in the future, Ms Shelley Canobie-Harris said.


To help, visit www.placuddlecot.gofundraise.

Easing the pain

Each year in Australia, about 150,000 couples experience reproductive loss; about 147,000 experience a miscarriage, 1750 babies are stillborn and about 850 babies die in the first 28 days after birth.


If this information has upset you, you may want to visit one of the following web sites:

Pregnancy Loss Australia: www.pregnancyloss

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